QUITO, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's President Rafael Correa claimed Saturday that the opposition will seek to start a scandal to tarnish his government ahead of the second round of the presidential election on April 2, with the help of the CIA and fugitive ex-bankers based in Miami.
"The great 'bomb' they are preparing for next week is the leaking of the Odebrecht list," he said at a public event in the town of Salitre. This list contains the names of alleged Ecuatorian officials involved in a bribery scandal with Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht, which has already implicated politicians across Latin America.
Although Odebrecht is accused of paying bribes to senior government officials in a number of countries, Correa said that this was a "dirty campaign" against his government as "they are desperate" about a potential victory of Lenin Moreno, Correa's chosen successor.
Polls ahead of the second round place Moreno as favourite, 15 points ahead of his rival, former banker and conservative, Guillermo Lasso.
In December, the U.S. Department of Justice published documents showing that Odebrecht had paid around 788 million U.S. dollars in bribes in 12 countries.
This includes Ecuador where the company is alleged to have paid 33.5 million U.S. dollars in bribes between 2007 and 2016, in exchange for receiving work contracts worth 116 million U.S. dollars.
Correa, who has been in power since 2007, said that the exact list had not been made available.
"This list has not been released by Brazil, which has a confidential agreement with Odebrecht, or by the Department of Justice," pointed out the president, who added that its release next week would be an act carried out by "the CIA, with the oligarchy and those fleeing from justice in Miami."
"This is the bomb they have prepared for next week to see if it changes the decision of the Ecuadorian people," warned Correa, adding that his attorney-general Galo Chiriboga would meet with Odebrecht representatives in the U.S. next week about having access to the list.
According to Correa, Odebrecht has refused to hand over the list, until Ecuador vows that no civil or penal lawsuits will be brought against any of its executives, which he reject as "unacceptable."
"That is impossible. While I am president, this company will never return to the country, not one more cent for this corrupt and corrupting company," vowed Correa, who expelled Odebrecht from Ecuador in 2008 after deficiencies were revealed in a hydroelectric plant it was building.